Tag Archives: writing

I Succumbed to the Temptation

This is our dining room table.

Half of it is covered with my “stuff.” There’s my paints, paper, brushes, a candle for when I am reading, my coffee, magnifiers for looking at watches close up, my Bible, and my laptop.

I didn’t really have time to sit down to write, but the open computer and the longing for that tactile feeling of my fingertips clicking the plasticky, rubbery keys of the keyboard… You know, for the writer, it’s like a drug!

I’ve got reading to do – LOTS of it.

At 1 pm I am supposed to be somewhere.

There’s so many things to talk/write about, yet I just don’t have the energy (emotionally or physically) to do it.

But man, the feeling of that keyboard and the visual proof on the screen that creation is taking place…

I gave in. I’m here. Forgive me.

But I promise, should you want to visit for dinner (or supper), I’ll make sure the table has plenty of room.

I feel much better, now.

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Filed under art, blogging, writing

It’s Just Been Busy and Writing Is Draining

Dear friends,

I just wanted to send out a quick update, just in case you were out there wondering why in the world I hadn’t been writing much as of late.

Well, honestly, it all boils down to two simple reasons: I have been more busy than ever because of the virus, and writing, especially about anything going on these days, is simply too tiring.

I can’t do everything. At least not as much as I want to.

So, when things slow down a little and I can afford the luxury to write more, my posts might go back to more in-depth, thoughtful commentary on life, reality, marriage, crime, politics, pets, legalism, watercolor painting, theology, people-watching, watches, zoology, substance abuse, and irrational fears.

Until then, follow Jesus.

Oh, and I’ll include a few videos to show you what I’ve been up to 😉

– Anthony

Image may contain: Anthony C. Baker, text and outdoor

Click on the Facebook link to watch Pastor Kenneth Ware and I talk racism and Jesus 🙂 The discussion will be on Facebook Live at 2pm eastern.

https://www.facebook.com/events/556523215236606/

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and text

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Filed under America, art, blogging

Thursday Thoughts: 4/16/2020

Random Thoughts

Every once in a while I have to write what’s on my mind, even when it might be multi-layered, a little discombobulated, and look like well-worn rabbit trails.

Not every thought needs to develop into a full-blown, well-sourced article. Not every thought needs to be completely thought through before sharing. Sometimes we need to get our thoughts out of our heads and onto paper (or a screen) in order give our brains some stretching room.

Therefore, consider this more like a spring-time yard sale, only the random objects spread across tables and blankets on the driveway are free for the taking. If you like it, it’s yours!

Bibles

For the record, my mother is dying of cancer. I don’t want to talk about it. All I want to say is that she wanted a new Bible, one she could read without a magnifying glass, and I ordered her one. She was so excited she sounded like Christmas had come.

But aside from getting her Bible in Giant Print, I ordered it in the New Living Translation. That’s worth mentioning because my mother had always been more of a KJV-only type. However, she wanted a new Bible that she could more easily read through large portions in one sitting, as I had recently advised people in our congregation to do.

Even though she probably has no more than a year, at best, she still wanted a new Bible to read. Just think about that for a while.

Government Overreach

I don’t subscribe to most conspiracy theories, at least the ones having to do with little green men, Area 51, and the Kennedy assassination.  However, if you were to ask me about Area 52, I could tell you about a secret military base (underground) in Arkansas that is powered off the grid by tectonic plates that create energy through the science of “crowd farming,” and that those plates are found in the tiles of 24-hour Walmarts spread around the state of Arkansas. Oh, and I could point out that there are 52 state parks under 52 million square miles, 52 Super Walmarts in Arkansas, and that Arkansas is the global headquarters of Walmart.

But I won’t. That would be craaaazy! You never heard anything from me. Understand?

On the other hand, it is foolhardy to assume the actions of our government are always in our best interests. Like Ronald Reagan once said, the scariest words in the English language are when the government says, “I only want to help you.” That’s why I think if the Bereans were “more noble” for searching the Scriptures instead of taking Paul’s teachings at face value, we should be noble and search the Constitution and Bill of Rights whenever government says they want to keep us safe.

Hopeful

Lastly, may I just say that I am hopeful? Yes, I’m hopeful that what we are seeing in the world is the beginning of another Great Awakening. The slumbering, comfortable Western Church has been slapped back into reality with the forced closures of it’s sanctuaries and parking lots. We have been forced to take “church” outside of the “four walls of normalcy” and out to where ministry can be done.

One thing is for sure, church will never go back to the way it was: it will be different.

11 Comments

Filed under America, current events, General Observations

Poetry: Is It That Simple? Or, Do Cooling Cookies Feel?

Simple Rhymes

I never had a problem making simple rhymes. It always came real easy; I did it all the time. So when, in school, the teacher said, “Today, we will be writing verse,” I lept for joy and grabbed my pen, while other students cursed.

It’s also one of the many reasons I love The Princess Bride. The following scene left me splitting my side.

Advanced Poetry

But when it comes to the more complicated kind, my poetry skills fall way behind. Like just today, I read a piece that was slicker than butter in bacon grease. Yet, try as I might to comprehend it, it was too aloof for me to apprehend it. It seemed to make absolutely no sense, like putting a cat inside a fence. However, I knew, it wasn’t the poet; I was simply naive, as my comment doth show it.

I thought and I thought, I wrought and I wrought, until a moment of inspiration! “I know what,” I thought to myself, “I’ve too much preparation!”

I must start with a premise, a theme, or current event, then write with philosophic self-aggrandizement. It doesn’t matter if there’s no rhyming or detectable meter. All one really needs are random thoughts, the more confusing the better.

Heck, what makes it even better is when the poet refuziz to conform to societal norms, standard: punctuation, & ^ CAPitalization rules? get it?

Therefore, if you’ve yet to see through it, my theory is really that anyone can do it.

“Cooling Cookies”

I tried BBB’s “monster cookie” recipe 🙂 Click on picture for link.

Fourteen cookies on a cooling sheet, lying there, cooling there.
Fourteen, cookies. Numbers on a sheet. Only numbers.

Why must the raindrops fall from clouds? Are not oats round?
Hot. Cool. And now the bed is hot, too. The silence is dephning.

Meet me in St. Louis, if Louis is really that saintly. Did he play the trumpet?
Fourteen notes, like fourteen cookies, falling like spit from a trap.

Eat them! Do not lick them! They have cooled.
And when you have eaten them, you’ll turn your back on them.
Stooled.

– by Anthony C. Baker

 

3 Comments

Filed under Food, poetry, writing

Jesus Is More than a Crutch!

Last night I was sifting through boxes of stuff in my office and I came across several notebooks in which I’d maintained somewhat of a diary.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty difficult time around here, lately. Not only has my faith been tested on an hourly basis, but my own brokenness has been made clear over and over again. When I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of those old notebooks, all from over a decade ago, the truth that my broken condition is chronic became obvious.

But there was one page I found where I had written some encouraging words. However, they weren’t words of affirmation meant to build up my ego or make me feel better about myself; they were attestations to the fact that Jesus is more, so much more, than a crutch to me.

Below is a copy of the text…

You say you don’t need Jesus because you don’t need a crutch. If you don’t think you need him, then maybe you’re crippled to high for crutches.

Jesus is more than a crutch!

Throw away Jesus and take the Devil, but I choose Jesus.

Just think about it:

The Devil tries to burden me down
    -Jesus says, “Cast your cares on me.”

“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear

The Devil wants me to sin.
    -Jesus bore my sin.

Satan will try to weaken me.
     -Jesus is my strength.

When Satan fires his arrows at me,
    -Jesus is my Shield.

In the midst of the storm
    -Jesus hides me in his hand.

Satan would see me defeated.
    -Jesus fights my battles.

Satan would have me fall into despair.
    -Jesus lifts me from the pit.

Satan would harm me.
    -Jesus will heal me.

When darkness is all around and Satan would blind me,
    -Jesus is my Light.

When Satan says, “There is no way,”
    -Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”

When Satan says I’m guilty,
    -Jesus paid my debt.

When the Devil would lead me astray,
    -Jesus is my Shepherd.

When the Devil would watch me fall,
    -Jesus carries me.

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” – Thomas A. Dorsey

He leads; He goes before; He walks beside; He holds me; He carries me; He helps me to stand; He gives me a race to run: He’s so much more than a “crutch” to me.

14 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, Jesus, worship, writing

4 Tips for Reading Long Blog Posts (Because Some People Can’t Keep It Short, Even With Titles)

I know, everyone hates them, even those of us who write them.

But you know that if your readers are actually going to take the time to read through an entire 1500-word masterpiece, it had better be interlaced with plenty of eye-grabbing pictures, recessed quotes, and more headers than an Irish bar at lunchtime. . .  or a gathering of hot-rodders, whichever analogy you prefer.

Since I’ve been guilty of writing blog posts with word counts in excess of 1,500 words, I thought it might be a good idea to offer some tips on how to get through such large, monumental, and brilliant works of literary genius.

  1. Skim it. That’s right, don’t try to read every little word, just skim through the post… then leave a comment.
  2. Only read the points that interest you. Yes sometimes you can just skim through a post and look for the headers that are most interesting. Just read what comes under those and forget about the rest.
    Then, of course, leave a comment.
  3. Pictures and quotes. If reading an entire post is too taxing for your brain, then just look at the pictures and read a quote or two.
    After that, leave a colorful comment.
  4. Re-read the title of the post and make up your own idea for what the post is about. Could it get any more simple?
    Once you’ve imagined your own content, leave a comment.

So, there you have it! Four easy tips on how to get through those long, tedious, over-the-top, brilliant, etc. etc. etc., glorious post that are longer than 500 words.

And here’s a gratuitous picture of my 1lb, 11oz-dog, George.

 

Note: If you don’t understand that this post is meant to be humorous, comment begging, and self-deprecating, just go back and look at the picture of my puppy. You need to smile.

 

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Filed under blogging

Happy 10th to the Recovering Legalist

It’s My Anniversary!

Actually, it’s not MY anniversary, but it IS a special day for this blog, TheRecoveringLegalist.com!

That’s right, it’s been 10 whole years since I started my blogging adventure with WordPress (I was with Blogger for a few months), and I just want to say a big THANK YOU! to all of you!

This blog has played a huge part in my life, from giving me an outlet to express my feelings and thoughts, to introducing me to many wonderful and interesting (some only interesting) people. Some I have met in person, most I have not, but many have become life-long friends.

Influencers

When people on TV receive awards, they go on and on about the people to whom they are thankful, and they praise those who helped them be successful. I want to do something similar.

First and foremost, without question, I want to thank my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, my Father in Heaven, and the Holy Spirit for not only giving me the talent to think and to write but also the reason for the hope that is within me. This blog, along with the ones it inspired (ProverbialThought.com and i4daily.wordpress.com) would be pointless if it wasn’t for the grace that lifted me up and set me on solid ground.

Next, I want to thank my wife and my girls for allowing me to write. Even though there were times when they got irritated when I spent too much time doing it (and they had every right), they still supported me and told me they were proud that I was making a difference in the world through this medium. Without their support, I would have given up a long time ago, and not just with this blog.

Last but not least, there are the numerous bloggers I’ve met over the years who have influenced me, encouraged me, prayed for me, and reaffirmed that the Christian blogging community is the next closest thing to family – nobody here gets an inheritance (that I know of). Then again, maybe it is a family.

I don’t know whatever happened to Heather Joy, but her early encouragement made a huge impact. Other folks like David Welford, Jessie Jeanine, Heather Mertens, Daniel Klem, Jessie Clemence, James Neff, Wally Fry, and Chris Jordan made lasting impacts. There are others, too. I wish I could remember them all.

The Posts

As most of you know, it’s always fun to look back at the stats to see what posts had the most views. Aside from the “pages” and stuff, below are the Top Ten from the last 10 years.

  1. Was John R. Rice a Heretic? 
  2. Just the Sound of BB’s
  3. What to Wear to Church
  4. The Brief Departure of a Friend
  5. Dinosaur Bones Found On the Moon
  6. Does Divorce Disqualify?
  7. Liberty or License?
  8. Work, Work, Work
  9. “Please, Lord, Help Me Get One More”
  10. Why Be a Legalist?

Proudest Moments

As I was compiling the above list, the question came to mind: What were your proudest moments over the last 10 years?

Honestly, I guess the proudest, or rather most honored I ever felt was when total strangers would walk up to me and ask, “Don’t you have a blog?” One time this happened when I was shopping at a Lifeway (can’t do that anymore) and a man told me he read my blog all the time – in another country! Sadly, I can’t remember where he said he ministered, but he was a missionary who’d come home to see family and recognized me!

Another time I was recognized was at a Subway. The guy behind me asked, “Are you that guy? The Recovering Legalist guy? The one with the blog?” I said, “Uh, well, yeah, I am.” He was so excited! He then told me how amazing it was to run into me at a Subway in his own town, and then he asked, “So are you just traveling, or something? What brings you here?” I answered, “Well, I just live down the road.”

Of course, how could I forget the day I was told I my blog was going to be featured on “Freshly Pressed“? THAT was neat!

What’s Next?

What will the next 10 years look like? I have the sneaking suspicion that I will slow down a little because of my new schedule and workload. However, what I hope is that the posts I do write will be more substantive and worth reading.

Many times I have written just to be writing, and I guess there is a time for that. But what I would like to develop is the reputation of posting such quality, Spirit-led work that whenever I do publish something you guys will not be tempted to pass over it. I want it to be worth your time.

Besides that, I want to set aside more time to read the stuff you guys write! I know I’ve missed a lot of blessings by writing more than I read.

One more thing. I’m going to set aside a specific time each week to pray for other Christian bloggers like many of you. Some of you may feel like what you are doing is making little difference, but you are wrong! If it’s of the Lord, even just one “click” could have an immeasurable impact on the lives of others.

God bless, and thank you for your following and friendship. It means more than you can know.

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Filed under blogging, community

10 Things Christian Bloggers Wished the Rest of the Universe Could Understand

The following was inspired by Dr. Dennis Culbreth and Alan Rogers, men who are obsessed with posting enumerated lists on Facebook.

The Audience

If you are reading this – evidently you are – it is probably because you are on some form of social media, like Facebook or Twitter. it is also possible you received an email notification as a subscriber, or you were forwarded a message from a friend who said, “You’ve GOT to read this!”

On the other hand, you may be a blogger who was surfing recent posts from followed sites or “suggestions”form WordPress (or some other inferior blogging platform). Those of you in this group – the bloggers – will understand what I’m about to write; the rest need help.

The following list will be less of a shocker than an affirmation of what Christian (and some pagan) bloggers already believe about themselves or others within their “community.” Therefore, the following list is meant more for the casual Facebook reader, the neglected child with a school project due, and the wife or husband whose eyes roll more often than a bowling ball.

10 Things Christian Bloggers Wished the Rest of the Universe Could Understand

1. The ability to write is a gift from God; the ability to write well takes work. Every post, if it’s worth posting, should be well-written. A poorly-written post is a poor reflection on the message we have to share. Therefore, don’t get upset if we spend 3 hours crafting a 500-word work of art.

2. Blogging is a form of worship. I know, it may sound crazy, but blogging can be a very legitimate means of giving praise and honor to God. Christian bloggers regularly speak of the goodness of God, praise Him in the midst of struggles, and challenge others to trust Jesus. Christian bloggers LOVE to praise God through computer screens all over the world!

3.  Christian bloggers are internet missionaries! You don’t have to travel the world to teach people with the Good News; you can do it from your kitchen! That’s right with a simple blog piece one person can instantly share relevant Truth in over 100 countries! Last time I counted, I’ve had readers in 126.

4.  Everything is fodder for a blog post. That’s right, everything from one’s recent trip to the mall to one’s battle with cancer – it’s all worth writing about, especially to the one who sees God’s hand working everywhere.

5.  Household chores will take care of themselves. Families of bloggers are usually the most stressed of housekeepers, but this need not be. Worse come to worse, dirty dishes, un-walked pets, and un-made meals can be used as writing topics (see point 4).

6.  Blogging is reporting. All bloggers wish the world would give us more respect. I mean, seriously, we deserve Press credentials! If you write a well-written blog you should be allowed into all political events, meetings, and all concerts for free. As for me, I think every blogger is a potential food and restaurant critic – we should eat for free.

7.  Christian bloggers don’t have selective hearing; we have selected focus. When I’m at the computer, don’t assume I hear anything you say. When I’m writing I’m in the “zone,” so voices outside the “zone” are muted. If you want my attention, offer food or show legitimate interest in what I’m writing.  Otherwise, don’t assume I heard you tell me to pay that bill.

8.  Donations are always welcome. Just because we Christian bloggers love doing what we do, that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t accept money. Money buys better computers, custom themes, and comfortable desk chairs.

9.  The Christian blogging “community” is a real thing with real people. Honestly, some of my best friends are bloggers I’ve met online. Several of us have met in person, prayed with each other, and shared in genuine Christian fellowship and worship. Bloggers love bloggers 🙂

10.  Christian bloggers come in all virtual shapes and sizes. Not every Christian is alike, and neither are our blogs. We are all unique and bring our own perspectives to the discussion of life. Don’t read just one.

So, what are your thoughts? Any points you’d like to share with the universe?

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the blogger will do anything to maintain his habit of changing the world one post at a time.

Kicked out of the house and in need of wifi, the Christian blogger will do anything to maintain his habit: changing the world one post at a time.

 

31 Comments

Filed under blogging, Christian Unity, Christianity, Humor

The Joy of Writing

Why do we enjoy writing?

I have a simple theory…

Writing is almost like creating something from nothing: from the mind into reality. Therefore, writing brings the writer joy because in his DNA is the ink stain of the One who created him.

In every writer is a little bit of the Author, evidence of His handiwork.

My actual keyboard 🙂

6 Comments

Filed under Apologetics, blogging, writing

Jesus Is More than a Crutch!

Last night I was sifting through boxes of stuff in my tiny office in the basement of our church and I came across several notebooks in which I’d maintained somewhat of a diary.

I’ll be honest with you, it’s been a pretty difficult time around here, lately. Not only has my faith been tested on an hourly basis, but my own brokenness has been made clear over and over again. When I took a few minutes to flip through the pages of those old notebooks, all from over a decade ago, the truth that my broken condition is chronic became obvious.

But there was one page I found where I had written some encouraging words. However, they weren’t words of affirmation meant to build up my ego or make me feel better about myself; they were attestations to the fact that Jesus is more, so much more, than a crutch to me.

Below is a copy of the text…

You say you don’t need Jesus because you don’t need a crutch. If you don’t think you need him, then maybe you’re crippled to high for crutches.

Jesus is more than a crutch!

Throw away Jesus and take the Devil, but I choose Jesus.

Just think about it:

The Devil tries to burden me down
    -Jesus says, “Cast your cares on me.”

“Forgiven” by Thomas Blackshear

The Devil wants me to sin.
    -Jesus bore my sin.

Satan will try to weaken me.
     -Jesus is my strength.

When Satan fires his arrows at me,
    -Jesus is my Shield.

In the midst of the storm
    -Jesus hides me in his hand.

Satan would see me defeated.
    -Jesus fights my battles.

Satan would have me fall into despair.
    -Jesus lifts me from the pit.

Satan would harm me.
    -Jesus will heal me.

When darkness is all around and Satan would blind me,
    -Jesus is my Light.

When Satan says, “There is no way,”
    -Jesus says, “I AM THE WAY”

When Satan says I’m guilty,
    -Jesus paid my debt.

When the Devil would lead me astray,
    -Jesus is my Shepherd.

When the Devil would watch me fall,
    -Jesus carries me.

“Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, help me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn.
Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light:
Take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.” – Thomas A. Dorsey

He leads; He goes before; He walks beside; He holds me; He carries me; He helps me to stand; He gives me a race to run: He’s so much more than a “crutch” to me.

5 Comments

Filed under Christian Living, Christian Maturity, Depression, Faith, Jesus, worship, writing